The Fredericton Daily Gleaner
Support grows for banning cosmetic pesticides
By JESSE ROBICHAUD
Canadaeast News Service
An Ipsos Reid poll conducted in December and released Tuesday found 79
per cent of respondents support a provincewide ban on non-essential
use of pesticides, while 75 per cent support a ban on the sale of
The poll questioned 438 adults and was commissioned by the Canadian
Cancer Society, the New Brunswick Lung Association and the Canadian
Association of Physicians for the Environment.
The results were released as the Department of Environment considers
how it will address the issue of cosmetic pesticides.
Environment Minister Roland Hache said a decision has not yet been
made, but he will announce a change to the status quo in the spring
sitting of the legislature.
The Liberal government is considering four options:
* an emphasis on education and voluntary reduction;
* targeted regulatory changes;
* a role for municipal governments;
* and a provincewide prohibition that would exclude agriculture,
forestry and golf courses.
The poll also found that 80 cent of New Brunswickers believe cosmetic
pesticides can pose a health risk to humans and the environment, while
85 per cent believe these chemicals could pose a risk to family pets.
Gideon Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of
Physicians for the Environment, said the results intensify the
pressure on the government to pass a provincial ban quickly.
"When the government passes this piece of legislation, we believe
there is going to be little resistance," said Forman.
He said it's clear that New Brunswickers feel threatened by
"The vast majority of New Brunswickers see these pesticides
threatening some of the most important things in their lives: their
pets, the environment and other people. All of which helps explain
their support for a pesticide ban," said Forman.
Forman highlighted the fact that 72 per cent of people questioned said
they would stop using pesticides if they were shown non-toxic ways of
maintaining their lawns.
"That tells us something very important, that pesticide users are not
wedded to these chemicals," he said.
The poll comes after the Department of Environment conducted a public
consultation last fall that showed overwhelming support for a
provincial ban on pesticides.
About 1,500 New Brunswickers expressed their thoughts and concerns
about four proposed courses of action to address pesticides.
The provincewide ban was preferred by as many respondents as for all
other options combined.
Ellen Snider of the Canadian Cancer Society's New Brunswick branch
said the poll shows how New Brunswick families see pesticides as a
"Children may be especially vulnerable to the harmful effects of these
chemicals, as their immune systems are still developing," said Snider.
"The normal behaviour of children, including playing on floors and
lawns and tending to put objects in their mouths, put them in even
She said the Liberal government must use the precautionary principle
to ensure New Brunswickers aren't harmed because science doesn't yet
fully account for all the potential effects of pesticides.
Liz Smith of the New Brunswick Lung Association said the lawn-care
industry has been moving toward more sustainable practices, but
legislation is needed.
"New Brunswickers who prefer to hire someone else to look after their
garden will need to know they can trust the person they hire to know
how to promote healthy plants," she said.
Smith said the industry in New Brunswick has been able to establish an
efficient certification system and the next step is removing
"I urge them to do so quickly, and for the lawn-care companies to get
educated and certified in how to garden without pesticides so we know
who to hire. This will be good for their business," Smith said.
Quebec passed a ban on cosmetic pesticide use in 2006. It was followed
by a ban in Ontario, which includes sales of pesticides used for lawn
care and landscape purposes.
Moncton-East Liberal MLA Chris Collins has been pushing for a
pesticide ban since his time on Moncton city council.
He said he's pleased with, but not surprised by, the poll's findings.
"This is exactly what I have been hearing for years. In fact, if you
went into certain areas I think that number would be higher than other
areas that are just getting into this issue," he said.
Collins, who has been lobbying for a provincial ban, said a
prohibition could create opportunities.
"If I was in the lawn-care business, I would have seen this coming for
quite a while," said Collins.
"In Nova Scotia there has actually been an increase in lawn-care
companies and the people working for them because of alternative
methods of lawn care, going to different methods of lawn-care
PESTICIDES POLL: Health organizations held a news conference Tuesday
to release results of a pesticides poll. Above, from left, are: Gideon
Forman, executive director of the Canadian Association of Physicians
for the Environment; Ellen Snider, senior manager of public issues
with the Canadian Cancer Society’s New Brunswick branch; and Liz
Smith, environmental programs co-ordinator with the New Brunswick Lung
Wednesday February 18th, 2009
The NB Telegraph-Journal
by Benjamin Shingler
FREDERICTON - The overwhelming majority of New Brunswickers surveyed
in a new poll favour a provincewide ban on cosmetic herbicides and
pesticides, results showed Tuesday.
The Ipsos Reid survey shows that 79 per cent of residents polled want
a ban on the use of chemical compounds that are used for non-essential
purposes such as ridding lawns and gardens of insects and weeds. The
poll also shows that 75 per cent of the residents surveyed are in
favour of banning the sale of such products.
Proponents of a full ban are calling on the provincial government to
bring in legislation that reflects the poll results.
"It is clear in this case that the risk associated with cosmetic
pesticide use far outweigh the benefits," Ellen Snider, senior manager
of public issues for the New Brunswick office of the Canadian Cancer
"They should not be used to simply enhance the appearance of our lawns
and gardens, or parks and recreational facilities."
Details of the poll results were released at a news conference in
Fredericton on Tuesday. The cancer society commissioned the poll along
with the New Brunswick Lung Association and the Canadian Association
of Physicians for the Environment.
The poll, which was conducted from Dec. 5 to 9, 2008, collected the
opinions of 438 New Brunswick adults. It is accurate within plus or
minus 4.7 per cent 19 times out of 20.
Environment Minister Roland Haché has pledged to unveil the province's
pesticide plan during the spring sitting of the legislature, but the
details of the plan aren't yet certain.
One option would be the introduction of a provincewide ban on cosmetic
pesticides. Golf courses, as well as the agricultural and forestry
industries, would likely be excluded from such a ban.
Gideon Forman, executive director of the physicians group, argued that
golf courses should also be included in the ban.
Forman said golf courses do not qualify as an "essential" sector for
herbicides or pesticides. While acknowledging the economic importance
of golf couses, he said it's possible to maintain courses through
alternative, non-toxic methods.
"I think we recognize that golf courses have some special challenges,
so they may need some extra time perhaps, but we would like to see
them included in the ban," he said.
For years, the cancer society has called for bans of pesticides for
Snider said the evidence linking pesticide use and cancer is
"suggestive and growing."
She said children are particularly vulnerable to the chemicals found
in the preparations.
"Their immune systems are still developing," she said, adding: "The
normal behaviour of children, including playing on lawns and tending
to put things in their mouths, puts them at even greater risk."
Liz Smith, environmental programs co-ordinator of the New Brunswick
Lung Association, urged lawn care companies to drop the use of
herbicides and pesticides immediately, in preparation for a ban. She
said such a change is what most customers want, according to the poll
Ontario and Quebec are so far the only provinces to institute a
provincewide ban on cosmetic pesticides and herbicides. Across Canada,
more than 100 communities have banned the use of pesticides. In New
Brunswick, four communities have banned their use: Saint Andrews,
Sackville, Shediac and Caraquet.
Wednesday February 18th, 2009
Moncton Times & Transcript
A healthier community: more public input
by Beth McLaughlin
Our municipal governments play a big role in planning and urban
design, housing standards, public works, the maintenance and creation
of parks, and, directly and indirectly, public health.
Many issues affect us subtly (cosmetic pesticide use, air quality from
industry and pollution from vehicles, lack of access to services due
to poor public transport) yet we take less interest, most of the time,
in the actions of municipal government than other levels of
Placing human development and ecosystem health at the centre of our
decision-making will lead us to new ways of thinking and governing our
towns and cities, says Ontario Dr. Trevor Hancock. We will take more
control over our urban living conditions.
But, these new ideas imply changes in the role of local government.
We'll need new policies regarding the physical and social environment,
all the while involving the public in the decision-making process.
Often, groups get together to protest or stop a project. Why not be
consulted prior to a development getting under way (from aquatic
centres to housing complexes to new businesses) for ideas and
suggestions which could make the project acceptable -- or not?
The success of the creation of the healthy city requires the
participation, the vision and the will of its citizens, declared Lewis
Mumford, urban planner and author of the City in History (1938) among
two dozen books. Change, with the participation of the public, is more
likely to succeed.
A two-day visioning on the future of the downtown area is a good
start, but what about the rest of Metro Moncton?
How we do it
The Village of Memramcook, with citizen consultation and a consensus
building approach, is in the process of long-term visioning and
planning, using the principles of Local Agenda 21. LA21 came to life
at the World Summit on Development and the Environment at Rio de
Janiero in 1992, based on the idea that many urban problems and their
solutions have their roots in local activities.
Researchers suggest focusing on "quality of life" issues like safety,
housing, economics and reducing crime which help centre the
discussions on something we all are concerned about. Local Agenda 21
promotes a "participatory, long-term, strategic planning process that
helps municipalities identify local sustainability priorities and
implement long-term action plans."
The principles are (1) that the viability-lastingness (healthiness)
has to be defined locally, widely proclaimed and understood by the
citizens, and (2) the healthiness is linked, associated, related to
the empowerment of the people and to the sharing of effective
democracy at the local level.
It is interesting to note that some countries attending the Rio Summit
went home to involve hundreds of their local communities in the
exercise of LA21. Sweden, for example, having a history and concern
for environmental politics, held consultations in all 288 Swedish
communities. They then included the LA21 in the elementary school
curriculum. The World Health Organization (WHO) began a Healthy
Communities Project in the 1980s which quickly flourished and grew to
a worldwide movement.
The Acadian Healthy Communities Movement (Mouvement Acadien de
communautés en santé-MACSNB), headquartered in Caraquet, has been
active for 10 years. Thirty-four towns and cities (from Dieppe to the
Acadian Peninsula to Edmundston to Fredericton and Saint John) and a
dozen community groups belong to MACSNB. Their goals are to further
the concept of healthy communities and to implement a network of
information, discussion and action.
Presently they are working on promoting inclusion and equity
(belonging and fairness -- i.e. groups like young working parents,
visible minorities and newcomers, the frail, the less well-educated,
the elderly) by giving presentations to their members on strategies to
include these groups. Healthy Schools is their other initiative this
The Falls Brook Centre in Carleton County is doing a series of
Community Mapping meetings with people in the towns from the Tobique
First Nation and Perth-Andover down the St. John River Valley to
These encounters bring people together to visualize "options that
allow the expanding and diversification of local economy" (Falls Brook
website). Community Asset Mapping workshops invite local residents to
map the assets and resources of the community from many points of view
and age groups (skills, values, infrastructure, social composition,
natural resources, economic services, location, history, design -- the
aspects outlined in this series), upon which they want to maintain and
build their future.
This exercise reveals many layers of good rich material and is fun as
well. It is being used to identify threats (like flooding) and
supports as well. Asset mapping focuses on what we have, rather than
what we need, uniting people in common purpose. Québec City
councillors created a fund for well-functioning neighbourhoods
associations which, upon consensus and approval of a given project,
were provided some funding for it.
Does it sound like all of these aspects are beginning to run together?
It should! Our aim is being able to breathe good air -- and our
challenge is for each of us to make some contribution to that end.
Where are the community leaders who will lead the charge?
(Next week: Success factors of a healthy community initiative)
n Beth McLaughlin, of Moncton, has a Masters degree in Environmental
Studies and is a retired teacher. Her series will appear in this space
Chris Arsenault, authour of Blowback -A Canadian History of Agent
Orange and the War at Home will be a guest on the Tom Young show
tomorrow February 18, 2008 at 2:30 PM Atlantic Time
You can listen online at
February 17, 2009
Salmon Arm Observer
Make it 'embrace a weed' week
What is yellow and green, leaves a distinct scent and can morph into
an excellent flying machine?
It is something that's both hated and loved, depending on where you
live and what you do with it.
It's Latin name is Taraxacum officinale, which is derived from the
Greek 'taraxos' meaning disorder and 'akos' meaning remedy. That's
apparently because of its abilities to cure.
It is also referred to by some as 'the weed from hell.'
It is the dandelion, that small yellow flower that is oh-so-successful
at multiplying on fields and lawns if left unchecked.
According to a cursory look at its properties, it is a source of
vitamins A, B, C, D as well as minerals such as zinc, potassium and
iron. Over the decades in various parts of the world it has been used
in remedies for liver problems, kidney disease, digestive disorders
and more. (Self-treatment without medical knowledge is apparently not
Dandelions can be used in salads and transformed into teas and wine.
They make great necklaces, as children will attest.
Dandelions are commercially cultivated in some parts of the world.
And, of course, dandelions are despised by many homeowners,
particularly in North America.
Which brings me to the whole cosmetic pesticide debate.
As the case of humans' love/hate relationship with dandelions
illustrates, beauty, as the saying goes, is in the eye of the
While minds can be changed when there's a will to do so, damage to our
fragile ecosystems and our bodies is not so easily reversed.
After years of lobbying previous councils, doctors and others
convinced city council to pass a bylaw banning the use of cosmetic
pesticides on public lands beginning in March. At the request of lawn-
care companies, the use of pesticides on private lands will be allowed
until March of 2010, but only when applied by someone with an
Integrated Pest Management certificate.
The ban effective in 2010 will have some exceptions including:
cosmetic pesticides will still be allowed on golf courses managed by
someone with a valid pesticides application certificate; and
pesticides can be used to prevent deterioration of 'hard landscapes'
such as sidewalks after alternatives have been utilized without
Pesticides will still be allowed on private agricultural land used
solely for crop production.
The key to making this bylaw work will come back to 'the will of the
people.' The city certainly won't have the resources to go around
policing people in their yards, particularly when the province still
allows the sale of pesticides. One example is the Salmon Arm Golf
Club, which began some time ago to find ways to cut out pesticides.
So, back to the much-maligned – or, much-praised – dandelion. It's all
in the view of the beholder. While there are other, healthier ways
than pesticides to remove weeds like dandelions, another option would
be to join the pro-dandelion camp.
Why not embrace that pesky weed?
Gifts and Tablewares, 2/10/2009
Environmental Issues Influencing Household Purchasing Decisions,
Statistics Canada's just released Households and Environment Survey
2007 reveals that increasing numbers of Canadian households are taking
advantage of energy and water-saving devices in their homes, and
environmental issues are influencing household purchasing decisions
and consumer habits.
The survey investigated actions of households that have positive and
negative impacts on the environment. It covered six major themes:
consumption and conservation of energy; consumption and conservation
of water; indoor environment; use of pesticides and fertilizers;
outdoor air quality; and consumer decisions. More than 21,000
households were surveyed by telephone in late 2007 and early 2008.
Key findings include:
* Nationally, 30 percent of Canadian households reported that they
always used recycled or reusable bags when doing their grocery
shopping. The highest proportions were in Ontario (35 percent) and
Quebec (33 percent).
* 62 percent of Canadian households reported they had a low-flow
shower head, up from 54 percent the year before.
* Households in Ontario (65 percent) were most likely to have had
a low-flow shower head while those in Saskatchewan (46%) were least
* 39 percent of households reported that they had a low-volume
toilet, up from 34 percent a year earlier.
* 84 percent of Canadian households reported that they had at
least one type of energy-saving light in their home. Between 2006 and
2007, the proportion using at least one compact fluorescent light bulb
rose from 56 percent to 69 percent.
* In 1994, 16 percent of households with a thermostat had one that
was programmable; by 2006, this had more than doubled to 40 percent.
This level was up slightly to 42 percent in 2007.
* In 2007, 30 percent of households drank predominantly bottled
water, whether they had a municipal or private water supply. The rest
consumed water from the tap or from both the tap and bottle.
* The proportion of households using any type of pesticide on
their lawn or garden increased from 29 percent in 2006 to 33 percent
in 2007. Overall, 12 percent of households using these substances
reported that they used organic pesticides.
© 2009 Business Information Group.
A member of the esourceNetwork
Warning Industry Propaganda Below
Feb 18, 2009
Ontario’s “Cosmetic” Pesticide Ban, and What It Means for Agriculture
Posted By macmac
By Craig Hunter
the Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers' Association
Collateral damage - any unintended effects suffered by an innocent
party as a result of actions aimed at a third party by an antagonist -
the effect of the unintended action.
These definitions speak volumes when applied to the farmers of Ontario
as the provincial government moves to ban “Cosmetic Pesticides”. The
double whammy may come when the legislation is effected and still does
not do what many intended it to do. That may be soon after the new
regulations are passed- widely expected to be on Earth Day, April 22,
The new legislation has arisen from an orchestrated groundswell of
mostly urbanized folks who have become disenchanted with what they
perceive as improper use, over-use, and maybe abuse of pesticides. No
matter that the pesticides in and of themselves are deemed of
acceptable risk by Health Canada - if used according to the label.
Therein lies the rub! The legislation keys in on pesticides- both by
active ingredients and by actual products. It does NOT change anything
for the actual user. This is akin to blaming the steering wheel and
not the driver when a car goes in a ditch!
I would suggest that everyone is in favour of banning all improper
use, all overuse, and all abuse of the use of pesticides. Farmers took
this to heart when they embraced Integrated Pest Management, mandatory
training and re-certification for purchase and use of pesticides, and
this is shown by their record of reductions in use, and virtually
clean record of performance in the field.
Compare this to the urban environment! Domestic users do not have to
show they can read a label in English or French, yet the majority of
the population of Toronto does not have either as their first
language, or maybe not the second! They do not have to show competence
to calibrate a sprayer. They do not keep records of use. They receive
no instruction on safe storage or disposal of the products. Is it any
wonder there are incidents!
The licensed applicators are not immune either! They are spraying on
land they do not own, nor have any vested interest. They get tested
once, and then get re-licensed without any further testing-ever! Some
of the older licensees actually got grandfathered in without a test at
all! They can go out and hire anyone 16 years of age, with no
training, by ‘enrolling them in a course’ but with no actual
requirement to ever attend, pass a test, or ever receive training of
any type. They get to start work immediately, under the supervision of
a technician- who is also non-licensed! Is it any wonder that issues
have arisen in the urban areas? It beggars me to understand why NO
changes have been made to pesticide use in the urban environment,
other than to banish a long list (almost 300 products), and 80+ active
ingredients from availability.
The result is predictable. The few products that will be available are
less effective in the most part, than those eliminated. If the
tendency to over-use was present in the past, it is more likely when
things don’t work as well or as fast. Furthermore, these products will
be more costly without real market competition. Unscrupulous agents
will sell their ‘new’ programs, at much higher cost. Lawns that may
have survived the droughts of summer watering bans but become full of
weeds that germinate with the first rain of fall, will need annual re-
seeding or re-sodding. Then there are the lawns that get cinch bugs,
white grubs, or sod web-worm; those are the ones that attract
starlings and skunks who eat the larva like jelly beans and tear up
the lawn to get them. There will be no effective controls available,
so a new lawn will be needed. I have read with interest about how just
fertilizer and over-seeding will do the job, but they forget that
water is the key ingredient in the mix, and tends to be unavailable
most of the summer as our urban infrastructure cannot handle the
demand. There will be outrage by summer’s end!
Let us not forget the many garden clubs, and the fall fair
competitions for fruits, vegetables, and flowers. It will be a miracle
(or surreptitious applications) to keep the quality at the levels
expected in these events. Isn’t it odd that while we have no problem
discarding an old drug for a ‘better’ one, we are discarding better
pest control for poorer? Isn’t it also ironic that while it is Health
Canada that approves both drugs and pesticides, using the same kinds
of criteria and reviews for the human health effects, and while
pesticides receive much greater reviews as all the possible
environment effects are examined too, that some so-called learned
people who somehow know better, have decided to ban the use of
effective and approved-for-use products?
Farmers and on-farm use of pesticides have been ‘exempted’ from the
legislation, at least on the surface. However, they sit on tenterhooks
waiting for the next penny to drop. If such inane legislation is
possible, then anything else is equally possible! The most immediately
damning effect is the loss of public confidence in our regulatory
system. If our politicians can override sound science, then how can
anyone be sure of anything? In all the public campaigns for ‘Eat
Local’ or ‘Eat Fresh’, will there have to be a rider that farmers may
have used pesticides in the production system? Will there be any
commitment, from those same politicos, that calms the public with
assurance of food safety, explains the testing and certification
schemes, that touts the records showing the extremely high safety
record of our food producers? To date there has been NONE, and none is
planned that we know of to date! Many politicians like to create a
problem (at least in their minds) go about trying to solve it (again
in their minds) and giving NO thought to those caught in the cross-
fire as collateral damage. Ontario farmers WILL suffer repercussions
as a result of this legislation. As the Admiral of The Fleet for the
British Navy said, “It takes three years to build a ship, but it takes
three hundred years to build a tradition”. He was referring to the
need to fight on even against impossible odds, even if it means losing
a ship, rather than turn tail which was NOT in the traditions of the
navy. Tradition gets things done: turning tail leaves neither respect
nor any self-respect. Our government is undermining the excellent
record of our farmers with this legislation, and it will take forever
to re-gain public confidence.
That would be bad enough, if the legislation was good enough to solve
the ‘problem’ it was intended to resolve. It will NOT, as it has
missed the real issues entirely!
It is my fervent hope that sanity will be restored before it is too
late. I won’t be holding my breath though! Farmers will need to be
extremely pro-active, immediately, to counter-act the down-sides of
this poor legislation.
Craig L. Hunter
Ontario Fruit and Vegetable Growers’ Association
355 Elmira Road N., Unit 105,
519 763 6160 ext 119
February 18, 2009
The Ottawa Citizen
McGuinty legacy up in smoke
By Dan Gardner,
A policewoman saw a driver smoking in a car. There were three
passengers in the car, one of whom the policewoman knew to be 15 years
old. These facts constitute an offence against the law in Dalton
And so, last week in Port Hope, the policewoman stopped the car to
give the 20-year-old driver a ticket for smoking in a car with a minor
present. As the policewoman wrote the ticket, the minor in question
lit a cigarette -- much to the annoyance of the policewoman, who could
do nothing as it is perfectly legal for a 15-year-old passenger to
smoke in a car while a police officer tickets an adult driver for
smoking in a car with a 15-year-old passenger.
Dalton McGuinty has not been a grossly incompetent premier. He has not
single-handedly ruined the province's finances. He has not destroyed
whole industries. He has not shattered institutions and torn the
social fabric. Full credit to him. He has cleared the very lowest bar
of public administration.
But Dalton McGuinty has been premier of Ontario since October, 2003.
In the five years following that date, the country and the province
rolled in gravy. Unemployment was low and falling. Surpluses
blossomed. It was fat city, baby.
So what exactly did the premier do in the summer of our prosperity? He
banned lots of things, certainly. Pit bulls. Pesticides. Smoking in
cars with minors present. In doing so, he ignored science and logic
and made bad public policy of the sort that produces hilarious scenes
like the one above.
McGuinty also fiddled with various files. Sometimes his fiddling had
positive effects, sometimes not. Occasionally, he gave files a good
tweaking. A few were jigged.
It should also be noted that the premier is personally responsible for
the fact that we recently celebrated "Family Day." That was nice.
Some would say this list of accomplishments is light for a premier who
commanded a majority through half a decade of wealth and sunshine,
that a premier with even a little vision could have done much more,
that "Family Day" and a list of silly bans is likely to be all that
Dalton McGuinty is remembered for.
Until recently, the premier's response to such unfortunate negativity
would be something along the lines of what he said back in 2007, after
winning his second majority: "I'm not out here to hit home runs. I'm
here to hit singles every single day."
This is the familiar "bland works" defence of every dull Canadian
politician from Bill Davis onward. And bland does work. Or at least it
does in good times. In the short term. If nothing goes wrong.
But inevitably, good times fade, the short term becomes long, and
something goes wrong. Then bland does not work. We are in such a time.
To his credit, the premier knows it. "I've revised my thinking,"
McGuinty told a gathering of Liberals recently. Now, he is asking "the
A McGuinty-commissioned report called "Ontario in the Creative Age"
was recently delivered to the premier by Roger Martin, the dean of the
University of Toronto's business school, and Richard Florida, the
"creative class" guru who has written a series of best-selling books
in which he argues the jobs of the future will be creative so we need
to go big on education and creativity.
"Ontario in the Creative Age" says the jobs of the future will be
creative so Ontario needs to go big on education and creativity. The
premier could have learned this by buying one of Florida's books for
$24.95 at Chapters. Instead, he paid $2.2 million for a 35-page
Some are not impressed by the premier's new gravitas. "It's as if
McGuinty had appointed himself first minister of metaphysics," mocked
the Toronto Star's Jim Coyle. "He sees profundity everywhere. He's got
so deep Jacques Cousteau couldn't find him."
I prefer not to mock the premier's earnestness. If a lack of vision is
the quintessential trait of Canadian politicians, mocking politicians
who look beyond the tips of their noses is the quintessential trait of
The premier does have fans, including Adam Radwanski of the Globe and
Mail. The economic crisis is forcing the province to blow big money on
stimulus, Radwanksi wrote. By thinking big, the premier can spend that
money in ways that deliver returns 15 or 20 years down the road.
Unfortunately, thinking big takes time, and the luxury of setting
aside immediate concerns. You can't have a long conversation about
renovations when your house is on fire. Dalton McGuinty had half a
decade to think big but he spent that time fiddling, tweaking, and
jigging. Now he's sitting in the living room watching flames lick the
walls and trying to think deep thoughts in a hurry. It shows.
"We will probably be the first in the world to recognize those
questions and come to grips with them," the premier boasted recently.
What questions would those be? One is "how do we create a truly
entrepreneurial society?" Another is "how do we create a government
that is truly fast and friendly when it comes to how it interacts with
business?" And finally, there is "how do we create a truly learning
These are truly big questions. They are also truly trite, having been
discussed for years in jurisdictions the world over. That the premier
thinks he is the first to grapple with them is truly amazing.
The summer of our prosperity is gone. Some day, the premier will be as
It seems increasingly likely that Dalton McGuinty will be remembered,
if he is remembered at all, as the premier who fiddled and banned,
banned and fiddled, until it was too late.
Dan Gardner blogs at ottawacitizen.com/ katzenjammer and writes
Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. firstname.lastname@example.org.
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